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The Lehigh & Hudson River Railway

1) The Company

The Lehigh & Hudson River finds its earliest roots in the Warwick Valley Railroad.   Since it was originally charted to connect with the Erie Railroad, it was built as a broad gauge road.   A few years later, the road standardized.

Meanwhile, the Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad was charted and built to connect the Delaware River with the Warwick.  The merger of these two roads in 1882 formed the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway and gave the road its footprint in New Jersey.   As a matter of fact, almost about 80% of the roads trackage was in New Jersey.

In New Jersey the road served the mining, coal and dairy industries in the Sussex County area of the state.  This included the famous New Jersey Zinc company mines in Franklin. As is mentioned in the 19th Century page, this area of the state was a heavy mining area and the LHRR was another road which tapped into that revenue.  

The LHRR had interchanges with the DL&W at Franklin and Andover; the NYS&W at Franklin and the Lehigh & New England at Sussex.  Outside of New Jersey, it connected with the Erie and the New York Ontario & Western in New York.  In Pennsylvania, it connected with Lehigh Valley and Jersey Central.

The railroad was never much of a passenger carrier.  Even during the golden age of rail travel the LHRR had no regular passenger service in New Jersey.

In some ways, the fact that the road lasted at all to reach the Conrail era is a major success.  The LHRR in the 20th century was a textbook example of a bridge line.  From its connection to the New Haven at the Poughkeepsie bridge to its southern end in Easton, PA, the road shortened transportation times for other roads.  However, the LHRR originated almost no local traffic.  

The LHRR started to come apart in 1960.   The mergers that started to take place at that time caused a very sharp decline in bridge traffic.  First the DL&W and the Erie merged in 1960.  Then the Pennsylvania, New York Central and New Haven merged in 1968.  This should have been the death of the LHRR as the bridge traffic that it used to carry could now remain on the Penn-Central or Erie-Lackawanna, as appropriate.   

The LHRR declared bankruptcy for the first and only time in 1972.  But, the still LHRR managed to continue to carry some traffic until 1974.  During that year the Poughkeepsie bridge caught fire.  This broke the northern connection and basically removed all remaining traffic from the road.

In 1976, the Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad and the less then 100 miles of track it controlled, joined with its neighbors to form Conrail

2) The Equipment

The L&HR seems to favor ALCO in the Diesel age.  I don't know too much about the steam era.

3) Named Trains

None 

4) What's Left

There is not too much of the LHRR in operation.   The former DL&W junction in Sparta is operated NYS&W.  

The stations in Allamuchy, Great Meadows, McAfee, Tranquility and Vernon are still standing along with some sections of rail that was not removed.

5) For more information...

A nice little book - "Scenic Motor Tour of the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway",  by Russell Hallock.  

New....I found a web site:  http://lhr.railfan.net/

Lehigh & Hudson River Roster and  System Map 

The Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad: 1860-1976

(c) 2000 - Phil Paone